Made By Rutherford & Co – Hamilton Ont

Provenance: Ex: Ralph Finch Collection, American Glass Gallery

Canadian target balls are fairly rare. There is our museum example embossed, ‘MADE BY RUTHERFORD & Co. HAMILTON ONT’ and there is another target ball embossed ‘GURD & SON, 185 DUNDAS STREET LONDON ONT’ that comes in two variants as pictured below.

Our 2-5/8″ diameter Rutherford ball is in light golden amber glass with an embossed quilted diamond pattern above and below the center band where the raised copy occurs. The ball was made in a 2-piece mold and has a rough sheared mouth. It is in perfect condition. The Rutherford ball can also be found in blue glass.

George Rutherford

In 1857, George Rutherford was a young druggist in Hamilton, Ontario, a city where he was born some twenty years earlier. In 1863, Rutherford would start a glass factory with John Winer and Lyman Moore who were also druggists. The three decided to produce their own bottles and conscripted Nathan B. Gatchell, to join them in the endeavor. He was the only co-founder with previous glass-making experience, having owned the Lancaster Glass Works in Lancaster, New York.

Hamilton at this time was a growing city with many businesses and manufacturing concerns. Rutherford and his druggist contemporaries were putting their own medicines and cures in bottles from the United States. This also applied to two soda water companies that were selling their products throughout the region.

With a strong business foundation, a willing client base, and lots of aspirations, the group formed Rutherford & Co., Hamilton Glass Works in 1864. This glassworks was quite an innovation; it was the first one in Hamilton, and one of only five in Canada. Led by Rutherford, they would specialize in bottle manufacturing and make a general line of products that primarily included druggists’ ware, fruit jars, and ink bottles. They also made our subject target ball.

Some time back, fragments of five fruit jars, one ink bottle, and one target ball – embossed “RUTHERFORD & Co.” were found on Hamilton Glass Co. property in 1970 and 1971.

Primary Image: Rutherford & Co. target ball imaged on location by Alan DeMaison, FOHBC Virtual Museum Midwest Studio.

Support Feature Image: Auction Lot 740: “MADE BY RUTHERFORD & Co HAMILTON ONT” Target Ball, Canada, 1875-1900. Light golden amber, quilted diamond pattern above and below center band, 2-piece mold, rough sheared mouth, dia. 2 5/8”, perfect. A very rare Canadian target ball that can also be found in blue. There are not a lot of Canadian target balls, and this particular example is very nice, and certainly does not come around often. – The Ralph Finch Collection of Target Balls, Traps and Shooting Ephemera, An Absentee Auction in Six Parts – 2017-2019, John Pastor and American Glass Gallery

Support Image: Rutherford – Hamilton. There are only three types of Canadian-made target or shooting balls known. We are pleased this sale to be offering two. This one is marked: “MADE BY RUTHERFORD & CO HAMILTON ONT”. A product of the Hamilton Glassworks, which Rutherford owned. A very rare ball. Pale amber glass. Mint condition. One was sold by Glass Works Auctions in 2007 for $3500, including premium. – Maple Leaf Auctions, Fall 2012

Support: Reference to Hamilton Glass Works – Ontario by Bill Lockhart, Beau Schriever, Bill Lindsey, and Carol Serr

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